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Travel-Bug Tales: Japan part one...in cosmopolitan Tokyo!

After the famous Shibuya crossing..... (Tokyo, 2013)
Welcome back my darlings and apologies for the delay in posting....I have had a rather turbulent two weeks being taken quite ill with an infection, which is thankfully and finally clearing up. So without further ado let's get to the task at hand....my exciting summer trip to Asia that began with Japan! Spending a total of only 6 short days and covering 3 different cities in Japan was indeed a challenge, as there was just so much to see, try and taste that I didn't even know where to begin. First stop Tokyo....a cosmopolitan city of tall glass risers, neon advertising boards and uniformed white shirts. Almost everything about the city seemed to say fast, efficient and effective in the most polite way. By day the work force merges into an orderly sea of people that get on with life at the very minimal of fuss and not even stopping for conversation, but by nightfall an entirely different face seems to fall out carelessly from restaurants or bars shoving their way into the drunken darkness with loud shouting and merry cheering or singing. The stark contrast surprised us a little but it was also something that made sense, because it is easy to forget that there are almost always more than one side to every person, let alone a whole society....nonetheless Japan was utterly fascinating!
On the streets of Tokyo....

My favourite Soba dipping noodles for lunch! (Tokyo)

Have you ever seen a gothic rock Hello Kitty? (Harajuku, Tokyo)

Costume galore....a shop dedicated to dressing up! (Harajuku, Tokyo) 

Time to find some dinner.....the food models in restaurant windows looked so real! (Tokyo)

One definite stop that is highly recommended is 'Sensoji' or 'Asakusa Kanon Temple' in Asakusa district, Tokyo. Not only is it a beautiful realm of tranquillity despite the influx of people, it is also a brilliant place to shop and sample all sorts of snacks from freshly made mochi to green tea ice cream and sweet red bean cakes....but take heed in finishing your fare in front of the stall and dispose of the rubbish accordingly, as vendors have to be responsible for the cleanliness of their stall front at a holy place...which means they will chase you down the path to politely escort you back to the stall if you try to wander off in a eat-and-walk manner. Having only two first days to spend in Tokyo I was worried about not being able to buy the Yukata (summer cotton kimono) I really wanted as a memento to remember Japan by, so imagine my delight in finding several stalls dedicated to selling Yukata. Spotting a turquoise-like blue cotton piece decorated with pink flowers in a golden outline....I knew it was the Yukata I wanted to take home and chose a pink obi sash to go with it. Contrary to popular belief that such tourist venues are meant to be overpriced, I was surprised to find the Yukata not only very affordable but of good quality and actually made in Japan. Feeling I had won the prize of the day I continued on the path towards the shrine with my family, admiring Yukata clad Japanese maidens taking photographs with tourist and listening to the bustling sounds of those trying to sell their wares amidst a beautiful zen-like garden. Once near the shrine, we proceeded to wash our hands at the fountain and made our way up the steps to bow in silent prayer.
[To find out more about Asakusa Temple click here: en.wikipedia.org/Asakusa_Tokyo OR www.japan-guide.com/3001]    
Visiting Asakusa Temple with my family......Tokyo, Japan.

The rows of stalls selling everything from food to knick knacks leading up to Asakusa Temple Shrine, Tokyo.

Souvineers......Asakusa Temple, Tokyo.

A stall especially selling the lucky beckoning cats....meow! (Asakusa Temple, Tokyo)

The shop where I bought my Yukata (summer cotton kimono)....Asakusa Temple, Tokyo.

Can you spot the Japanese ladies in their Yukata (summer cotton kimono)? (Asakusa Temple, Tokyo)

My sister Vicky and me at Asakusa Temple, Tokyo.

Asakusa Temple Shrine, Tokyo, Japan.
Next we decided to do a bit more shopping before meeting friends for dinner and headed to Shibuya where we met the famous statue of Hachiko. A favourite waiting place at the Shibuya station exit, Hachiko became famous because of his unwavering loyalty and had waited for his master to return at the same spot every day. [To find out more about Hachiko: en.wikipedia.org/Hachiko] A few steps further took us to the famous Shibuya multi-crossing, where a sea of faces seem to cross without collision in a multitude of directions when the green man flashes. If you darlings happen to be in Shinjuku or Shibuya for a spot of shopping then you must pop into the amazing 'Tokyu Hands' store, as you can find almost anything and everything across the four floors! From puzzles, pet supplies and pots to make-up and craft supplies, so it will be a good place to muster up some last minute presents or souvenirs....but be warned you might just end up getting lost in this store for hours. [To find out more about Tokyu Hands click here: www.tokyu-hands.co.jp] The evening concluded with a lovely dinner with friends at a traditional grill restaurant in Rappongi district...so we couldn't really have asked for a better day!
A traditional Kimono shop....where we stopped by to ask for directions. (Tokyo)

Hachiko the loyal waiting dog outside Shibuya station.....

The famous Shibuya crossing in action....can you tell where everyone is headed? (Tokyo)

Night shopping in Shinjuku...... (Tokyo) 
Next stop will be the beautiful leafy Kyoto, which is probably my favourite out of the 3 cities we visited....and I shall tell all in the next post. As life picks up a normal pace again, I shall be looking forward to the weekend and starting preparations for Christmas. Have you darlings started present shopping and putting together recipes for that all important Christmas dinner yet? Whatever fun you may be up to....here's wishing you darling readers a fabulous weekend!


 Until the next time,
May xx

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Comments

  1. May what a jet setter you are and what a fabulous travel reporter to, your beautiful words make me want to jump on the next flight to go and explore for myself! I can't wait to see you in your beautiful new Yukata, it sounds divine!Right, I'm off to catch up on part 2 xx

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~Thank you so so much! I love hearing from you and appreciate every beautiful comment. Please feel free to follow and walk with me too.....have a fabulously lovely day my darlings!
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♥ May xx

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